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came home to him with peculiar impressiveness. His elder brother, to whom he was tenderly attached, had just before joined the society, which was then in a very low state. When the fact of his having done so became known, several of his companions visited him together, regretting the loss of his society, and desiring to regain it. To these, however, instead of yielding, he addressed serious and affectionate exhortation; and, finding his own entreaties unavailing, he induced them to accompany him to the chamber of a pious young man, who was dying of consumption, in the hope that his admonitions might be successful. Nor were his expectations disappointed; the greater number of them were so deeply affected by the sick young man's conversation, that they began from that time to seek religion. Their example influenced many others; the work spread ; and considerable numbers were added to the church. The influence of this on the mind of Mr. Watson was decisive; and at this time he also joined the society.
For a fortnight his convictions were severe ; and the anguish of his mind bordered upon despair. But he sought the Lord earnestly and continually. Nor was this in vain. Accustomed frequently to repeat, mentally, verses of hymns which seemed suitable to his condition, while meditating on this verse,—
“My Father, my God, I long for thy love ;
O shed it abroad ; send Christ from above !
presented ortment, and weight have be
his soul was filled with joy unspeakable, and all things around him wore a new aspect. Love to all mankind, but especially to his brethren in Christ, was one of the first and most conspicuous fruits which became apparent in his character, and formed ever after one of its most striking features, through a Christian course of more than fifty years. , · During a period of thirteen years, which elapsed between his conversion, and removal from Weardale to Sunderland, in the year 1800, his religious experience presented no particular variation : he maintained a consistent Christian deportment, and gained the esteem of all with whom he associated. More, perhaps, might have been said respecting his progress in divine things during this period, but that his modesty, and his reluctance to speak of his own religious attainments, always rendered it difficult to gain such information from him ; and most of those who were then intimately acquainted with him have passed before him into another world. He has sometimes been known to refer, in the bosom of his own family, to the simplicity and fervour of his earliest religious affections, the constant peace and enjoyment which he possessed, and the delight with which he engaged in religious and devotional exercises. He would often express his
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pleasing recollections of Mr. Wesley, and the earlier Methodist Preachers, of whose simple but energetic ministry he always spoke in terms of the warmest admiration ; attributing to their powerful word, the establishment of his religious character; and entertaining through life the deepest gratitude to God, for the favourable circumstances under the influence of which, in this respect, he had been placed.
In the year 1800, by the advice of an intimate friend, he removed to Sunderland; a step which he did not take without much consideration and prayer, thus endeavouring to acknowledge God in this particular instance, as he desired to do in all his ways. Nor was his confidence mistaken. His future life was crowned with the divine blessing : his course was prosperous; and, what was of greater importance, being placed in a wider sphere, he became more extensively useful than he could have been with the limited opportunities afforded by his former country residence.
He had not long resided in Sunderland when he was assailed by a class of temptations to which he had been comparatively a stranger. While living in a retired situation, in the midst of pious friends, where the truths of religion were never questioned, his mind was never disturbed by the suggestions of infidelity ; but now, being deprived of his old associates, and placed among a number of young men, some of whom held sceptical opinions, and this at a time when the writings of Paine, Volney, and others, were widely disseminated, he was tempted to question those truths which he had previously embraced. Objections against Christianity, of which he had never before heard, were brought before him ; and, for a time, he felt himself cast into the most uncomfortable darkness. He prayed for divine light and aid; according to the opportunities which he possessed, he seriously considered the subject; and, by God's blessing, the simplicity and integrity of his heart soon wrought out his deliverance. A sermon which he heard, on things secret and revealed, contributed much to his relief. The Preacher stated the distinction between what came within the reach of our comprehension, and what lay beyond it; and said, that both were equally entitled to our belief, when established by divine declaration. By similar temptations he was never again assailed.
Shortly after his arrival at Sunderland, in connexion with the late Mr. Michael Longridge and others, he began to employ himself in the promotion of Sabbath-schools, which at that time were in their infancy. His active exertions were attended with considerable success ; nor did he relinquish his labours without painful reluctance when compelled by the infirmities of age. For this department of pious toil he was admirably fitted. Possessing singular tenderness of heart, especially towards the young, and communicating his instruo. tions with peculiar aptitude and simplicity, he seldom failed to engage
the attention of the children ; and by many his labours are remenbered with gratitude, as having directed their earliest thoughts to the Saviour. It may not be amiss to state, as illustrative of this, an incident which occurred shortly after his death. By a member of his family, a young woman was visited in sickness, who ascribed her conversion to Sunday-schools. Of Mr. Watson she spoke with much feeling ; she remembered his affectionate admonitions ; and still retained several little books which he had himself given her.
In the year 1807 he married, and entered into business. In becoming the head of a family, his first care was to secure the favour and blessing of God, and to watch over the religious welfare of those committed to his charge. His family devotions were maintained by him with conscientious regularity; and no matters of business, however pressing, were ever allowed to interrupt them. In this he was not without his discouragements. The young men who resided under his roof remained for some time indifferent to the things of God; and his prayers on their behalf seemed to be unanswered. In the plain path of duty he continued, as he had begun, to walk ; and eventually he proved, that, though the sowing was not without tears, yet the reaping was with great joy.
At the same time that he entered into business, by the appointment of Mr. Bramwell, who then travelled in the Circuit, he was made a Class-Leader, an office which he held till death. He entered upon its duties with a deep sense of their importance; and was never fully relieved from a discouraging consciousness of his own inadequacy to discharge them as he desired. His discouragements were certainly groundless; for all who enjoyed the benefit of his judicious and affectionate counsels knew well how to estimate their worth. He felt a deep interest in the spiritual welfare of the members entrusted to his care ; and their growth in grace was the constant object of his solicitude and prayer.
To describe all the means by which he sought to render himself useful, it would be necessary to enumerate almost every religious and benevolent institution in the place. Of the Benevolent Society, he was one of the most active members. Visiting the sick was his favourite employment; and many are the instances in which his visits have been rendered signally useful: many whom he visited afterwards died happy in God, giving, as far as human judgment can decide, evidences of a real conversion. There is scarcely an office in the religious society to which he belonged, which he has not filled ; and to all its institutions he afforded his cordial support. But his zeal was not to be confined within sectarian limits. Bible, Tract, Temperance, and other Societies, whose object was the benefit of mankind, and the glory of God, received his affectionate approval
In the discharge of these duties he persevered to the close of his life; yet he ever viewed himself as an unprofitable servant: his hopes and confidence all rested in the atonement of Christ. In these engagements he never lost sight of the necessity of cultivating intimate communion with God: he was a man of prayer, and, in many instances, he obtained most striking answers. His public petitions were remarkable for the humble and penitential spirit which they breathed, blended with strong confidence in the Saviour, and the most glowing warmth of gratitude and love. The relation of his religious experience was marked by the same characteristics : he was always modest in his professions; he spoke but little of his attainments and enjoyments, dwelling most upon his defects, and magnifying the grace and mercy of God. In him deep humility and penitence were united with high enjoyment and strong confidence. He was, to the last, “trembling, yet happy; confident, yet meek.” He used to say, that those were mistaken who imagined that penitence should end with pardon. He thought, that the believer should lose nothing of his repentance but the anguish of it; observing, that he knew of no words more expressive of his experience than these :
“The godly fear, the pleasing smart,
The meltings of a broken heart;
The sighs that waft your souls to heaven :
The' unutterable tenderness;
The wonder, “Why such love to me?'
The sight that veils the seraph's face ;
For several winters before his death occasional attacks of illness had impaired his constitution; but, during his affliction, he always maintained his confidence in God, and a patient submission to his will. It was evident that the Lord was preparing his servant for his removal to a better world; and that, while temporal things were losing their influence, his mind was becoming more devotional and heavenly. In December, 1836, symptoms appeared of the disease which eventually terminated his life. At its commencement, the heart-searching views of his own unworthiness in which he indulged, sometimes deprived him of that abundant consolation which he might have enjoyed. On one occasion he observed : “My past life has been passing before me in review, from my infancy until now; and when I think of my own unprofitableness, I am ashamed and humbled; but when I look to the cross, I feel encouraged.” The slightest suggestion of anything he had done or suffered in the cause of his blessed Redeemer was to him even repulsive, and made him sink lower in